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>> we recently traveled to the mediterranean island country of cyprus. it's in the neighborhood of greece, turkey, syria and lebanon, israel and egypt. in its 12,000 year history and a rich culture, it is a fascinating place to visit. on this program, we will learn about the divided country. we spent our time only in the south and the divided capital city. "this is america" visits the republic of cyprus. >> "this is america" is made possible by the national education association, the nation's largest advocate for children and public education.
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the american federation of teachers, a union of professionals. the singapore tourism board, e.ere is singapore airlines, a great way to fly. poongsan corporation, forging a higher global standard. the rotondaro family trust. the ctc foundation. afo communications. and the american life tv network. >> to begin our education about cyprus, i talked with dr. hurbert faustmann.
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>> what is modern-day cyprus? holiday destination, a place for fantastic weather, a divided country plagued by political conflict that has not been able to be resolved in more than 30 years or 40 years now. that dominates many aspects of life on the island outside the tourism sector. the booming economy in the south, the greeks, and the less booming part in the north. >> a look at the map, and you have to know what your looking for to see the island country, but once you get a fix on it, it's in a very, very strategic location. >> it has always been and that was rather its curse than blessing. it has always been too weak to defend itself, so it's a history of foreign domination until 1960.
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cyprus was passed on through the hands of the regional dominant powers and was usually ruled by outside powers because it was strategically so important. any power that wanted regional dominance needs to be in strategic control of cyprus. in modern times, it has been thought of as the modern aircraft carrier because it holds a british military base. >> so, location and history linkup to give cyprus a very unique position in the world and a very unique character. >> of course. cyprus is a mixture of its history and so is its people, who have different races and origins, but have a merged into a greek-speaking orthodox community and since the 16th century, when the ottoman empire took over, a second significant community emerged which was muslim and turkish-speaking.
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there are numerous smaller minorities throughout history, catholics from the domination during the venetian, the ones that come from lebanon and syria, but the large groups are greeks and muslim from turkish descent. >> when you run it up to the present day, a country that has been occupied, vandalized, colonize, does this history way on everyone's mines and beings, be they greek or turkish? >> if you followed the official discourse, it does. this is an island of assessed with its problems and divisions. but in its shadows, which dominates the news, though the
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island is divided and there is an ongoing conflict, it is dormant in that there is no violence here. you have a large number of troops but you are not really afraid there will be shooting more fighting. it is a dormant, stagnant conflict in which the sides talk, but in that way, it affects the daily lives of people. at the same time, in the south and to a lesser degree in the north, people live a very pleasant, comfortable life in the shadow of it. >> our guide, titina loizidoa, showed us some of the important sites in the city. >> this is a very important monument because it represents the struggle against the british. the british came in 1878, the late 19th century. they stayed until 1960 and this
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statue represents our struggle from 1955 to 1959. what we see in front of us is we see the statue of liberty with her hand extended. we see two fighters from the struggle against the british. they are opening the gate of the detention camp where people were detained. we see women, men, and even priests as cyprus became free from the british. aqueductsing at the that are built in the ottoman times. it was very important to bring water into the city and into the neighborhoods because the water
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used to bring people together. the women of the neighborhood would meet there and discussed the problems of cyprus. at the same time, they would get this valuable element, of life water. we are looking at the church dedicated to the virgin mary the of the gold and flax. it is the oldest church. it has three distinctive faces. oneth ies is the byzantine, 10h century and we can see the dome. the other is the medieval time with the almost pointed arches. the third phase is the much more modern phase which relates to the beginning of the 20th- century. so we are looking at the most monumental gate of the venetian
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wars which surrounds the old city. it is built by the phoenicians in the 16th century to protect the city from the attack of the ottomans. it is a gate that opened to the east where we had a very big port. that is why -- is made of limestone and as you can see, it is monumental. it has a huge arched on top and if you look up closely, you will see an arabic inscription which reflects the much later time when the city was under the ottomans. >> to learn more about cyprus, we talked to the presidential commissioner. >> independence in 1960 for cyprus from the british. did both turkey and greece have
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their eyes on cyprus as a prize? >> greece, turkey and britain became what is the tree obligation of the republic of cyprus. this is a treaty of guarantee. the republic was in alliance with greece and turkey through a formal treaty of alliance that permitted both to have armed forces from the island. the british already secured a their interests by obtaining the sovereign base areas at the time of independence. other countries had a historical connection will with cyprus.
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because 82% was greek, that -- turkey embarked on the shape of the ottoman empire and was here for 300 years. of course, they had a 18% of the population identifying themselves as turkish cypriots. >> hall or the turkish cypriots and greek cypriots getting along? >> the greek cypriots and turkish cypriots got on very well. >> what happens in 1974? >> the major event was the turkish invasion of cyprus in july and august. there were two invasions'. one in july and one in august. this had an enormous effect the
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turkish army invaded from the northern coast, expelled all of the greek cypriots that live there and then all of the turkish cypriots were banished to the northern part of the island. it was the ethnic cleansing of the population that brought the division of cyprus as we still know it today. >> the whole island country is the republic of cyprus, right? but of the north calls itself the turkish republic of northern cyprus. >> the republic of cyprus is an internationally recognized republic. if is sovereign over the whole of the island except the two
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pieces that are sovereign -- the areas from the united kingdom and is recognized as such by every single country in the world except turkey, who in fact did not start doubting the republic of cyprus until the late '70s. >> what is the role of the presidential commission and your job? >> currently, i am the president's adviser, special advisor on the cyprus problem. i am his representative in the negotiations. >> do representatives from the north and south meet on a regular basis to try to come to
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some kind of a new agreement? >> yes. we meet at two levels. it the level of the leaders and the representatives, which is my task. >> what is the single biggest stumbling block? >> theoretically, we have the outline because we have agreed -- the greek, the major concession to the process because as i already said, the turkish serious were 18% of the population. in spite of that, we agreed to have a federation based on two communities. with political equality, which is defined by -- that means
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ensuring their effective participation in the affairs of the federation and that this federation will be organized on to geographical zones. it is zonal and bite communal -- this is going to be organized on the basis of two communities. but, we define it also that this state, this federal state will have one symbol of sovereignty, one symbol of international personality and one citizenship. that happened along time ago but it was agreed in late 1977.
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it is enshrined in several security council resolutions. >> so here we are in 2011. this has been going on now for many years. pessimistic, are optimistic? >> i take a professional pride in the work i am doing. therefore i must be an optimist. and i am and we know from the social research that we have conducted, turkish cypriot and greek cypriots want a solution to the problem. they want the solution because they know it would lead to
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prosperity, which is not very common in that area. i hope, and i want to hope that people will finally prevail in their wishes for unity of this country. >> no where in the republic of cyprus is a division of this country more apparent than right here in the buffer zone. >> the buffer zone for some many years was the concrete -- was a symbol of the separation of this country. it is not without reason that people used to call a dead zone. until 2003, people could not
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cross across the divide because of the restriction that was fed by the authorities and the north. however, since 2003, this has been removed and we have some openings from which people can cross across the divide. the whole operation is here in an effort to change the character of the dead zone to transfer a from a zone of division to a zone of cooperation. >> who is responsible for the home for cooperation? >> the association -- a non government, not for profit -- >> it was founded in 2003 with
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members of the association with a special interest in history, since the day we were founded, we were looking for a place for our meetings and seminars. wheat could not find a better place for these buildings but here. >> somebody said to me if you left it up to the people, some progress would be made and perhaps a solution. do you find a sense of cooperation between the north and south? >> the way the association is functioning, it's an example that cooperation can be fruitful in cyprus, so yes on the level of ordinary people, i could say the cooperation does function
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and can be fruitful products. however, we have to have in mind always that people in their level can do many things but cannot give the solutions to political problems. our aim here is not to find a solution to the issue, but we have to prepare people to a solution. the way to do that is to give examples of cooperation because the division exists for so many years and people, especially young people do not have examples of cooperation and do not believe people can come and sit together and find solutions to problems that concern them both.
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the association's work is an example of this cooperation. we do not ask people to share our ideas, we ask them to share our vision. our vision is to have an environment where dialogue can be conducted. >> thank you very much. >> to learn more about the capital city, we talked to the mayor. >> madame mayor, good to talk to you. >> nice to see you. >> the capital city, if you had to describe it to our american viewers, what would you say? >> it is a small city compared with american standards. we only have 250,000 residents and in the municipality, only something around 50,000, but it is a city with thousands of
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years of history. the history spans 6000 years. more been the capital for than a thousand years, so you can see almost the history of cyprus in one or the other corner of the city's so it is historical, it is a modern city at the same time because we have an economical center of the island, but at the same time, is the center of political difficulties are rising from the division of the island. >> how does the fact that the
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capital city is divided and the country is divided impact on the lives of people here today? >> we tend to talk about the cyprus problem in terms of international law and the violation of the sovereignty of the country which is of course a fundamental issue. but the division as much more than that. division is the source of everyday problems for the people living here. people face obstacles in free movement and communication. it is stronger than anywhere in
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cyprus. at the same time, the quality of life, the environment's are affected by division. people living along the buffer zone have to face the problems are arising from a zone where no man lives or moves alone. division is not only a political problem. it is a problem that affects the quality of life. on both sides. especially those living along the buffer zone. it is not only administrative, but the commercial center of the island. there is a lot of activity in commerce and in services.
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in many areas. especially the last decade or so, we have seen changes. there are a lot of young people now discovering the beauty, especially the old quarters, so we have a lot of young people moving back to family houses and renovating them or whatever. of course, we have an asset which is i think unique in cyprus. . the historical heritage, -- museums, a large number, we did not face this rapid development
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that coastal cities faced with tourism and all of that. that gave us the time to protect our architectural heritage. so that is a focal point in our everyday life. people are complaining but -- >> it's the price you pay. >> yes. when all of these projects are finished, we will enter a new time. >> "this is america" is made possible by the national education association, the nation's largest advocate for children and public education.
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the american federation of teachers, a union of professionals. the singapore tourism board, something for everyone. singapore airlines, a great way to fly. poongsan corporation, forging a higher global standard. the rotondaro family trust. the ctc foundation. afo communications. and the american life tv network.
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This Is America With Dennis Wholey
WETA July 17, 2011 10:00am-10:30am EDT

News/Business. (2011) (CC)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Cyprus 28, Greece 4, Capital City 4, America 3, Turkey 3, The Singapore Tourism Board 2, Martha Jane 2, National Education Association 2, The Nation 2, Ctc 2, Syria 2, Us 2, Singapore 2, Lebanon 2, Old City 1, Aqueductsing 1, Ies 1, Ottomans 1, Men 1, Martha Jane Friedrich 1
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